Israeli tech leaders to boycott Web Summit after CEO tweet

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock

Paddy Cosgrave, founder of the world's biggest tech conference, has condemned Israel's actions in Gaza.

Senior Israeli tech figures, including CEOs and investors, have canceled their participation in Web Summit, the world's biggest technology conference due to be held next month in Lisbon, after CEO and founder Paddy Cosgrave posted on X (formerly Twitter) condemning Israel's action in Gaza.

On Friday, Cosgrave posted, "I’m shocked at the rhetoric and actions of so many Western leaders & governments, with the exception in particular of Ireland’s government, who for once are doing the right thing. War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies, and should be called out for what they are."

Adam Fisher, the Israel-based partner of Bessemer Venture Partners posted a response to Cosgrave, "You keep posting this video which creates moral equivalence between a brutal terrorist group that executed babies, and a democratic country trying to protect its citizens. There is no call to release the child hostages or condemnation of Hamas burning children alive."

Cyberstarts founding partner Gili Ra'anan responded to Cosgrave's post on LinkedIn. "Some of you perhaps would say that he is a white privileged male, who doesn't know enough about the world to condemn a war against murderers and rapists."

Taboola founder and CEO Adam Singolda, a regular participant in Web Summit over the years, posted on X, "I'm sad to read this because I went to Web Summit for years and met Paddy Cosgrave a bunch of times. A week into the war, when mothers are seeing their babies burned alive by terrorists, when nearly 200 people are still kept hostage, away from their families, when Hamas which is worse than ISIS and Nazis combined because even Hitler didn't burn babies ... is just not a good time Paddy. I'll repeat, not a good time to be 'right', and you're just wrong.

"As for me, I'll never be part of your future initiatives and we'll never work together again. And the truth is that I don't matter as I'm only one Israeli guy, living in America, out of thousands who go to Web Summit. But - I'll feel better about myself and that matters too.

"Hamas is not ISIS, it is worse."

Yinon Costica, cofounder of Israeli cybersecurity unicorn Wiz, wrote on LinkedIn that he too is canceling his participation. He called on all senior tech figures to circulate on social media #cancelwebsummit.

Itzik Ben-Bassat, CEO of theGist and an advisor to Insight Partners founder Jeff Horing told "Globes," "The problem with this comment is that it does not take into account the situation here. The situation here is that we were attacked without doing anything. We lived in houses, breathed air, danced at a party and were slaughtered in horrors that the world only saw in the reality of ISIS and the Nazis. Israel's response tries as much as it can to respect the laws of war, and this while Hamas, also in Gaza by the way, violates the international rules of war. Comparing a country that defends itself and tries to eliminate terrorist cells, and does so while taking into account the population as much as possible in a war zone, and the criminal act that these terrorists committed, which shocks most of the world, is unnecessary, incorrect and unwise. As far as I'm concerned, and I hope that as far as every Israeli is concerned, this conference is dead."

Ben-Bassat added: "Anyone who does not understand the fundamental difference between a country that keeps the laws or does its best to keep the laws, and despicable barbaric murderers who burn people alive, I have no interest in such people and I will never have any interest in such people, and it doesn't matter who they are and how much they can help my company. Contrary to what a person like him might think, Jews don't only think about money."

Chen Shmilo, head of the 8200 Alumni Association also called on Israeli entrepreneurs to boycott the conference because "Cosgrave's tweets are shameful and hence I call on startup founders, as well as large companies, to join forces to put an end to this ridiculous hypocrisy of Paddy Cosgrave, who denounced governments that condemned Hamas. Hamas is ISIS period! If you support the slaughter of innocents, then stay out of the game. I am calling on behalf of the 8200 Alumni Association to all companies and individuals who intend to participate in Web Summit next month to cancel any participation or sponsorship."

Nadav Shoval, cofounder and CEO of OpenWeb said, "I won't be attending Web Summit in November, and OpenWeb overall will be pulling its participation. As a company founded in Israel, OpenWeb stands strongly with Israel. At a time when so many of our co-workers and their families remain in harm's way, we will be completely clear on our position. "

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on October 16, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock
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